The Dunedin City Council's move to tighten internal controls
has been praised by the Office of the Auditor-general, even
as the investigation into an alleged $1 million Citifleet
The words of encouragement came from Auditor-general Lyn
Provost as she addressed a meeting of the council's new audit
and risk subcommittee during a visit to Dunedin yesterday.
But, despite the headlines and unanswered questions about why
the alleged fraud was not detected, including by auditors,
the word ''Citifleet'' was not uttered yesterday.
Instead, Ms Provost praised the council's decision to create
the subcommittee - as part of a push to improve internal
controls - and said good governance required continued
She said the council's new subcommittee had a ''really
important'' role to play in helping the council maintain good
governance, protect against risks and keep council staff
New Zealand's public sector boasted $240 billion worth of
assets and managing them required continuous attention, she
Previous OAG inquiries had identified governance issues
within the public sector, which was why the OAG endorsed
Local Government New Zealand's governance training and other
initiatives, she said.
''It's a skill that's learnt. You are not born with it,'' she
Public sector organisations and their staff also needed to
get better at managing ''unlikely and catastrophic risks'',
''I know some of them are challenges here, and challenges for
you, as well,'' she said.
That prompted Cr Hilary Calvert, a member of the
subcommittee, to question the interaction between the
council, OAG and related parties.
''I have had people saying to me, recently, 'how did the
auditors not pick that up?''' she said.
Councillors and the public could benefit from a better
understanding of the way the OAG, council and other parties
interacted, she suggested.
That would help the next time someone asked ''how the hell
did that happen?'', she said.